February 18, 2012

one week later - chewing on the last morsel of Trust in the PKI business

After a week of fairly strong deliberations, Mozilla has sent out a message to all CAs to clarify that MITM activity is not acceptable.

It would seem that Trustwave might slip through without losing their spot in the root list of major vendors. The reasons for this is a combination of: up-front disclosure, a short timeframe within which the subCA was issued and used (at this stage limited to 2011), and the principle of wiser heads prevailing.

That's my assessment at least.

My hope is that this has set the scene. The next discovery will be fatal for that CA. The only way forward for a CA that has issued at any time in the past an MITM-enabled subCA would be the following:

+ up-front disclosure to the public. By that I mean, not privately to Mozilla or other vendors. That won't be good enough. Nobody trusts the secret channels anymore.
+ in the event that this is still going on, an *fast* plan, agreed and committed to vendors, to withdraw completely any of these MITM sub-CAs or similar arrangements. By that I mean *with prejudice* to any customers - breaching contract if necessary.

Any deviation means termination of the root. Guys, you got one free pass at this, and Trustwave used it up. The jaws of Trust are hungry for your response.

That is what I'll be looking for at Mozilla. Unfortunately there is no forum for Google and others, so Mozilla still remains the bellwether for trust in CAs in general.

That's not a compliment; it's more a description of how little trust there is. If there is a desire to create some, that's possibly where we'll see the signs.

Posted by iang at February 18, 2012 10:53 PM | TrackBack

CAs? What do we need CAs for anymore?

Now we have Namecoin.

Posted by: Fellow Traveler at February 25, 2012 06:51 AM
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